The Blount County Board of Education held a special meeting last Friday to discuss two key issues centered on the system’s current and future COVID-19 protocol and a memorandum of understanding from the Blount County Commission regarding the relocation of the Blount County BOE central office to the Frank Green Building located at 415 Fifth Avenue East in Oneonta.
A potential move to the much larger Frank Green Building would provide needed office space and ample parking. Superintendent Rodney Green said the memorandum stipulates that the Blount County Commission will provide up to $500,000 in external improvements while the Blount County BOE would be responsible for interior improvements. An architect is scheduled to meet with Green in the coming weeks.
The duration of the agreement is 25 years. While Green stated the terms of the agreement looked good, all agreed more time was needed to review the memorandum and get feedback from the architect. Discussions will continue between Green and commission chairman Chris Green prior to the board’s May meeting.
Green also reported changes in the system’s COVID-19 protocols. Masks are still required in common areas, hallways, entrances and exits, or whenever six feet social distancing cannot be maintained for the remainder of the school year.
While students will not be required to wear masks when outside at recess or P.E., outside sporting events, and field day activities, wearing masks on school buses is still a requirement. Indoor school activities will still be limited, but outdoor graduation ceremonies with precautions and protocols similar to last year will move forward.
“Currently, our plan is to return to full in-person instruction without protocols for summer camps, summer schools, and any summer activities starting in June,” Green said. “Our goal is to open the 2021-2022 school year under normal operating procedures including all school activities for our students. We encourage our students, faculty, staff, and parents to consider getting vaccinated, if appropriate for your health, to help us have a normal school year.
“We appreciate your support over the last year as students alternated between blended and remote learning. This was not ideal, but it protected the health and safety of our students and stakeholders as much as possible. We are excited to announce all students will be able to return to the classroom for face-to-face instruction next year. This will allow students to engage actively with teachers and peers to move forward toward academic success. Blount County Schools will continue to offer virtual courses for qualifying students in grades nine through 12 through the Bridge Academy.”
Green concluded his report with the announcement that due to an influx of retirements, transfers, and interventionist positions being filled, Blount County has openings for 38 positions, mostly in elementary education, for the 2021-2022 school year.
In other matters, the board reviewed Green’s recommendations. It approved: Requests
• J. B. Pennington cheerleaders, UCA Cheer Camp at Auburn University, June 1-4.
• Appalachian volleyball to host a skills clinic for grades three through eight, May 19-21.
• Cleveland basketball to host a basketball camp for grades three through six, June 1-3.
• Susan Moore basketball to host a basketball skills clinic for grades three through six, April 20-22.
• J. B. Pennington to host a girls soccer camp for grades four through six, May 4-7. Agreements/contracts
• Appalachian School’s contract with Darlene Driggers to provide grade recovery, April 16 through May 27.
• Cleveland High’s contract with Loft 212, LLC, SnapShots by Mike, and Universal Sound for the 2022 prom.
• Hayden High’s contract with Micah Marshall to serve as percussion instructor, April and May of 2021.
• Susan Moore High’s contracts with Ashley Nelson and James Stack to assist with 2021 band camp; and with Angie Sanders to assist with volleyball camp, July 5-6.
• BCBOE contracts with Gateway for the Go2U school-based counseling agreement during the 2021-2022 school year; Ackerson & Associates (Joseph Ackerson), April 4 through Oct. 1; Behavioral Pediatric Institute of Alabama, April 7 through Oct. 30.; and Phyllis Shirley, April 19 through Oct. 31. Personnel
• amended staff list for 2021 Literacy Camp.
• staff list for 2021 summer school.
• six leaves of absence. Retirements (effective June 1)
• Terra Hancock, Cathy Holley, and Brenda Love – Locust Fork Elementary.
• Pamela Minyard – Resource Center.
• Janie Novara – Hayden Primary.
• Sarah Puckett and Kathy Rodgers – Cleveland Elementary.
• Amy Seiber – Hayden High.
• Tina Wynn – J.B. Pennington. Resignations
• Amanda Allen, school bus aide, Blount County Learning Center, effective April 26.
• Angela Gardner, school nurse, effective April 19.
• Jordan Harrison, band director, Locust Fork High, effective May 28.
• Monya Peppers, speech language pathologist, effective May 28. Employment
• Madison Grace Cornelius, special education teacher, Cleveland High, beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.
• Ashley Kearley, LPN, substitute school nurse for remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
• Justin Russell, mechanic, Blount County Schools, beginning May 1.
• Kristina Smith Speegle, special education aide, Hayden High, beginning April 26 (contingent upon meeting highly qualified requirements). Transfers (beginning with 2021-2022 school year)
• Blountsville Elementary: Valerie Bryan Bradley – transfer to Elementary Literacy Interventionist; Amanda Nicole Bullard – transfer to a federal funded special education teaching position.
• Cleveland Elementary: Janice Ragsdale – transfer to Elementary Literacy Interventionist; Jennifer Roberts – transfer to Elementary Mathematics Interventionist.
• Hayden Primary: Jill Crumpton – transfer to Elementary Mathematics Interventionist; Christina Barker Watson – transfer to Elementary Literacy Interventionist.
• Hayden Elementary: Kaitlyn McAvoy – transfer to Elementary Mathematics Interventionist/elementary special education teacher; Kelly Pinkard – transfer to Reading Specialist.
• Hayden Middle: Bethany Prater Eddy – transfer to Elementary Mathematics Interventionist; Lauree Palmer – transfer to a federal funded special education teacher.
• Locust Fork Elementary: Barbara Roy – transfer to Elementary Literacy Interventionist; Wendi Smith – transfer to Elementary Mathematics Interventionist.
• Locust Fork High: Cheryl Kelley – transfer to Secondary Mathematics Teacher/Interventionist.
• Southeastern: Tara Murphy – transfer to Elementary Literacy/Mathematics Interventionist.
• Susan Moore Elementary: Tina Snead – transfer to Elementary Literacy Interventionist; Jennifer Hamric – transfer to Elementary Literacy Interventionist.
The board’s next meeting is Monday, May 3, at 1 p.m.